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What Goes Into A Collaborative Design Process? 7 Top Collaboration Tools for Design Teams

Work smarter, not harder! Here are six collaboration tools to help take your design team projects to the next level.

Posted 13 Feb 2023
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Two heads are better than one: if you’re a designer or team member, that saying is probably all too familiar. Although a single designer can manage smaller projects from start to finish, most large-scale design projects are brought to life with the help of various teams in an organization. And collaboration is the key to producing great work.

But with collaboration comes great responsibility to keep track of all the different tasks as you navigate the path toward creating high-quality outputs. From brainstorming and conceptualizing ideas to drafting and refining designs, many moving pieces need to come together seamlessly.

That’s why your design team needs to use the right collaboration tools to streamline your workflow, maximize creativity, and produce stellar designs of which you are proud.

In this post, we’ll look at six essential collaboration tools and how to use these tools to streamline the design process. Let’s dive in.

What Goes into a Collaborative Design Process?

The collaborative design process has become increasingly important over the last few years. It works particularly well for complex products where many designers from different disciplines work together to create a final product.

collaborative design approach

The main advantage of collaborative design is the opportunity to draw on a wide range of skills and develop a more comprehensive product. On the flip side, there’s an increased potential for conflict between team members and the risk that the final product may not reflect the original vision of any one designer.

Successful collaborative design requires careful planning, clear communication, and a willingness to compromise. With the help of collaboration tools, teams can create impressive results that exceed the sum of their parts.

Collaboration allows designers to share their ideas in a supportive online environment where they can help others foster creativity and offer valuable feedback.

What Is a Design Collaboration Tool?

In an increasingly digital workplace, 56% of employers use online collaboration tools and social media to communicate with employees.

A design collaboration tool is a software or a cloud-based application that multiple designers can use to work on the same project simultaneously.

For example, collaboration tools assist with sharing design files, commenting on each other’s work, and keeping track of tasks. They also help keep everyone on the same page, ensure everyone’s voice is heard, and that everyone’s needs are met.

Design collaboration tools typically include features such as:

  • Version control – allows designers to track and revert changes.
  • Real-time editing – enables design team members to see each others’ changes in real time.
  • Commenting – enables design team members to comment on specific design sections.

There are a wide variety of collaboration tools to choose from, so it’s essential to find one that fits your business needs.

6 Top Collaboration Tools for Design Teams

Let’s take a closer look at some of the best collaboration tools available today.

1. InVision

Best Used For: the whole design process. 


InVision is powering the future of work through a one-stop-shop online whiteboard and productivity platform. More than 7 million users – and 100% of Fortune 100 companies – are collaborating with InVision, so there’s no doubt this tool brings a lot to the table.

From using Freehand for brainstorming and goal setting during the early stages of a project to providing feedback as the project picks up steam, InVision can do it all.

Key Features

  • Connect every phase of your design process in a straightforward hub.
  • Access over 100 templates from the world’s best companies.
  • Incorporate stakeholders and users directly into the design process.
  • Integrate with popular tools like Figma, Loom, and Slack.

2. Figma

Best Used For: real-time design collaboration.


Figma is a design collaboration tool that has taken the world by storm. The program has garnered a broad following comprising millions of new-generation designers, developers, and students. Figma is more than a photo editor or simple design suite – it allows designers to collaborate through multi-player workflows, sophisticated design systems, and an extensible developer ecosystem. Figma is a top-notch collaboration tool for design teams – especially those who are remote or spread around the world.

Key Features

  • Access your designs from anywhere with Internet access.
  • Invite developers into your process.
  • Share designs with live links instead of downloading multiple versions.
  • Avoid the stress with easy access to version history.
  • Test concepts with live prototypes.
  • Integrate with FigJam for a single seamless source of truth.

3. Miro

Best Used For: discussions and brainstorming. 


Miro is an online whiteboard application that connects teams in real-time to brainstorm and create together. Whether across the room or halfway around the world, Miro enables co-creative collaboration for ultimate creativity.

It’s both simple enough for beginners and powerful enough for experienced designers. Imagine the possibilities for creativity and productivity when you can project a limitless, interactive whiteboard on your screen. And the best part of all, it’s free.

Key Features

  • Ideate with your team in real-time and all in one place.
  • Turn a winning idea into a finished product with ease.
  • Run engaging meetings with screen sharing, video conferencing, and presentation mode.
  • Access to a library of pre-built templates.
  • Take a photo of your physical whiteboard and turn it into digital sticky notes.

4. Webflow

Best Used For: web design and web development. 


Webflow is a no-code drag-and-drop website builder which enables anyone to create the perfect website.

It allows you to take advantage of all the web-development benefits of HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript without writing a single line of code. 

Design as much of your project as you want, and then seamlessly hand it over to a developer to add the final touches. And voila, your website is ready to go.

Key Features

  • Build a beautiful website without any code.
  • Easy access to team collaboration modes: design mode and edit mode.
  • Share updates with developers and clients in real time.

5. Filestage

Best Used For: reviewing and approving designs. 


Filestage alleviates the stress associated with project management by allowing you to manage reviews, feedback, and approval processes in one place.

It’s perfect for teams stuck on endless back-and-forth email chains, needing help keeping track of all their stakeholders’ needs, or constantly chasing approvals every step of the way.

Filestage streamlines the design process by allowing you to share files with other stakeholders, collect their feedback in one place, and get your work approved faster.

Key features

  • Create a review schedule (with deadlines) for each project stage and invite different stakeholders to participate in the review process.
  • Share comments, add attachments, and use visual annotations.
  • Build a clear picture of what needs attention by turning comments into a to-do list.
  • Use the project dashboard to keep track of the project status and see who’s left to review the designs.

6. ClickUp

Best Used For: managing design projects. 


If you’re looking to streamline your design process, share feedback with your team members, and maximize their resources, then ClickUp is the answer. ClickUp allows you to handle project management in the way that’s most convenient for you.

There are three options:

  • List view shows all of your details are organized conveniently on one page.
  • The outline board allows users to manage their workflows by project phases, dates, or deadlines within those periods.
  • Calendar mode is better for people with more detailed schedules.

You can annotate and proof all your design files directly within the program and invite guests or share attachments with others for quick iterations.

Key Features

  • Delegate tasks at the click of a button.
  • Customize workflows for design lifecycles with drag-and-drop functionality.
  • Add attachments for easy sharing.
  • Collaborate from anywhere in the world.
  • Visualize and track team performance for optimal efficiency.
  • Find any task or file with an easy search function.

7. Chanty

Best Used For: collaboration within the design team and other departments

Chanty is an all-in-one collaboration tool that is less formal than an email and less time-consuming than a phone call or online session, Chanty’s features allow your design team to be more economical with their words and time, without sacrificing the quality of communication.

Chanty’s team communication software helps design teams easily share files, discuss approaches and achieve targets with your team, clients, or contractors in real-time.

Key Features

  • Use a built-in task manager to stay productive.
  • Free your time from switching between multiple apps and accumulate collaborative efforts in a single place.
  • Manage dynamically using the Kanban board and enjoy a flexible, visual and simple way to execute scrum methodology by managing your tasks in one place.
  • Automate your design team workflows by going beyond communication and integrating third-party apps such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Mailchimp, and other apps.

To Wrap Up

Collaboration is essential for designers at all levels. Whether you’re a beginner looking to learn new skills or an experienced designer looking to add a fresh perspective to your work, you can always benefit from the input of others.

Whether working on a small project or overseeing a large design team, using the right tools can help streamline your workflow and produce better results. So what are you waiting for? Invest in collaboration tools today to see great things come out of your next design project. You won’t regret it. Happy designing!

This article was contributed by Userp.

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